“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed… Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

~2 Corinthians 4:8-9,16-18

Olives in their natural state are hard and bitter. To become edible, they have to be heavily processed. This process can include washing, breaking, grinding, soaking, mixing and pressing. These steps take a lot of time and resources but result in a product that can be used and enjoyed for its intended purpose.

This reminds me of how our lives are as we grow in the Lord. In our natural human state, we can be hard and bitter. Then the Lord washes us of our sins, breaks our chains and soaks us in His Word. Just as with olives, this process is not easy and doesn’t happen overnight, but the outcome is so amazing. Even when we’re being broken and pressed from all sides and don’t know what will happen next, it’s all part of His process. No matter what stage of the refining process you are in, God can still use you and has an intended purpose for your life, and He’s with you through it all.